Miranda van den Heuvel talks to creative expats and creative people all over the world about creativity in general and their own creative outlet in particular. Meet writer Jenny Mannion. from Oneonta, New York, USA.
1. What is CREATIVITY?
Creativity means to me tapping into your true Essence, your Soul, and letting it express itself. It may be through singing, writing, drawing, painting, dancing, cooking or any means that calls to you. When you are truly in that creative space it is bliss-like and you feel connected yet free at the same time.
2. How are you creative?
My two favourite forms of creative expression are dance and writing. Both have been in my life for as long as I remember. I will focus on writing for this post as that is something I have just taken to the next level by having my first book published. It was a creative effort of more than three years, and to see it all together in one neat little package is beyond words. I have loved writing since I was a little girl, making up stories, writing poetry and making up short funny plays to give to my friends, where we were all main characters.
3. Suggest a simple creative activity to our readers that can make them more creative
I would ask the readers to close their eyes and think of the first things that come to mind when you think of “joy”. You can put your hand on your heart if you like during this. Next – what comes to mind when you think of “peace”. Being creative puts us in that place of joy, presence and peace. Sometimes my clients will need to go back in time and think of something they used to do as a child but haven’t done in a while. You might have drawn as a child but figured you were “too busy” as an adult. The beautiful thing about the world now is that we have the Internet at our disposal to teach us almost anything creative we have an interest in for free – via free classes or YouTube videos. I have seen people learn how to draw, dance, do yoga, cook and more via the Internet. Sometimes you might need a jump start to your creativity with some instruction. Taking that first step looking up a video on something you are interested in and want to learn more about will ignite your passion for it again.
4. What are your top 3 websites for creative inspiration?
Funny – I am not much of a regular website visitor since I limit my time on the Internet so I can be out there creating and living. Sometimes I will get my creativity sparked online though. I love Facebook as it connects me with friends from elementary school on and lets me see what they are doing. I always find creative recipes, art or something that makes me excited.
I enjoy Steven Aitchison’s site to make me think. Sometimes after reading some personal development posts I will get ideas of different ways to see topics and will be inspired to write.
I used to use StumbleUpon and recently started to use it again. I love the idea of clicking a button and being shown something totallyrandom but aligned with your interests. Art, music, creative writing… there is always something new every time I take the time to click the StumbleUpon button!
5. What are your 3 tips to become more creative in your country?
Vacationing anywhere gets your creative juices flowing… It could be a new town an hour away from home. It helps you to see things in a new light and have new experiences which are both catalysts for having creativity kick in. Being in nature in a new place or exploring and meeting with new people always invites new ideas and ways of thinking.
Meeting with a group of an interest in your own community is a wonderful way to kick off creativity. I, with a few friends, started a Mind Body Spirit Community which is a group that meets once a month with a potluck dinner. We discover a new methodology of healing, have group discussions, set group intentions and break bread together. Joining a group that shares a similar interest is always a good way to spark creativity. Reading groups, meditation groups, writing groups, dance clubs, art groups, there is truly a group for every interest if you seek it out. Being around like-minded people will help you expand and expansion helps your creativity to grow.
Museums of the mammoth kind are always inspirational. I was lucky enough to grow up in NYC, so the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a “hang out” spot for me. Being around the paintings of the greats, the representations of the knights, the ancient tombs – all left a sense of wonder and delight. Any museum that has a lot to offer usually will spark inspiration and creativity.
6. What’s your suggestion to make your country a more creative, innovative place?
To begin to really support the arts and creative expression from a young age in school. To bring in meditation and time for reflection and going within. When we connect with our soul we connect with our creative source. To let up on the telling the kids to draw inside the lines and let them fully express themselves. The more we feel safe expressing ourselves the more we will open up to our full capacity of expression and that might come out in many different forms.
7. Anything you’d like to add?
Thank you for having me here to speak about creativity. I love the idea of asking many different people what sparks their creativity because I feel it is sparked differently for everyone. I am a big believer in having that form of creative expression. It connects us to our deepest self and in that beauty of creation – we can begin to find and fall in love with ourselves.
Jenny Mannion, interviewed by Miranda van den Heuvel, January 2016